Fashion companies embracing digital transformation are finally creating real in-roads into an industry that wasn’t seeing much change a few years ago. Designers, manufacturers, and retailers are coming together to provide real solutions for sustainable fashion while creating a digital infrastructure to reduce waste and the carbon footprint that has plagued the industry for decades.
Digitization is, at last, disrupting the fashion world, as leaders and influencers have expedited future endeavors, giving hope to those who want real change right now.
What Is Digitization?
Digitization is the process of converting information or processes into a digital format. But the concept of digitization is more than just creating a new media format. It’s the idea of taking outdated or manual processes and upgrading them into digital ones for sustainability, fair labor practices, and environmental protection.
What does this mean for fashion?
So far, we’re seeing advances in AI, augmented reality, mobile responsiveness, and cloud platforms. More importantly, the emergence of design software is changing how designers and consumers make and purchase apparel.
What Do Today’s Fashion Consumers Want?
Over the past decade, fashion designers have struggled to keep up with consumer demands. One reason for this is the rate at which fashion trends are changing.
However, consumers today are not motivated to purchase clothing by cultural trends alone. They expect higher quality, better value, instant experience, and, of course, instant gratification. More importantly, they’re interested in sustainable fashion and green products.
The question is, how do fashion companies respond to these demands? Specifically, how does digitization solve the problem of instant gratification and sustainable fashion at the same time?
How Digitization is Changing the Game
The effects of digitization are far-reaching, causing brands to reassess how they foster relationships with business partners, designers, industry professionals, consumers, and the public at large. The assessment includes making supply chains more efficient and cost-effective from the designer to the consumer.
Consumer personalization is one of the biggest benefits of integrating digital assets into company processes. By designing on-demand custom clothing, designers and retailers can offer quality clothing according to customer specifications. This breakthrough drastically reduces waste and fosters improved design and manufacturing practices.
The role of automation in the garment industry is to increase productivity, throughput, and flexibility of the production systems. Automation improves productivity and the quality of fashion products by minimizing human intervention and preventing manufacturing mistakes.
Recent automation in the apparel industry includes computerized data monitoring, computer-aided designing, automatic fabric spreader, automatic fabric cutters, high-speed sewing machines, advanced pressing and finishing machines, etc.
INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)
Presently, IoT in fashion isn’t just limited to the application of wearables such as Google Glasses or smartwatches, but it also involves the stitching of invisible sensors onto cloth fabrics or utilizing interconnected apparel to perform various functions such as notifying the user about the product’s materials, assisting in detecting the product if its lost or even in facilitating style tips.
3D DESIGN AND AVATARS
Thanks to 3D rendering methods, fashion designers can sample garments digitally at the beginning of the process and offer a 3D-fitting with digital avatars of customers at the very end of this stage before physically producing any item of clothing.
Certain products make it easy to make physical samples of variations for the same item, such as shoes or hats. Designers can make clothing samples as long as they do not have too many adjustable parts.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Supply chain digitization enables a stronger relationship within the supply chain by moving all aspects of the supply chain online to manage all procedures and tasks anywhere. Workers can instantly manage logistics, payment, inventory, and other data and share with colleagues across time zones and continents.
With digitization, the supply chain becomes a completely integrated ecosystem that is fully transparent to all the players involved — from the suppliers of raw materials, components, and parts to the transporters of those supplies and finished goods, and finally to the customers demanding fulfillment.
Why is digitization more important now than ever? Several factors are driving the need for change.
Fast fashion is an approach to designing, creating, and marketing clothing fashions emphasizing making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.
Fast fashion is cheap, stylish, mass-produced clothes that hugely impact the environment. These garments appeal to shoppers because they are affordable and trendy. But because they aren’t built to last and quickly go out of style, these clothes are quickly discarded, piling up in landfills.
THE PUSH TOWARDS ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Another critical driver in the fashion and apparel industry is that today’s consumers want to buy from brands with a mission. They expect brands to care about employees, fight for social and environmental issues, and be transparent about their actions to protect the planet.
ECOMMERCE AND INSTANT FULFILLMENT
Thanks to eCommerce and online shopping, the need for individuality and instant fulfillment have superseded cultural trends. Consumers are no longer satisfied with following the herd. They want personalized fashion, and they want it now.
Brands must respond by choosing sustainable materials and manufacturing methods whenever possible and be transparent about them. Companies must publish information about their materials and manufacturing processes on the website. Sustainability and best practices must become integral to a brand’s marketing strategy.
The Time Is Now to Embrace Digital Transformation
While fashion designers are always forward-thinking with fashion design, they’re still in the rut of archaic processes that harm humanity and the planet. Digitization allows fashion companies to develop sustainable and green solutions without sacrificing cultural relevance and consumer relationship.
Using digital technology, making better products efficiently while reducing waste is now possible. So, the time is NOW to implement best practices. Brands that refuse to embrace digitization will soon become technologically and culturally irrelevant.